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November 9, 2010 8:00 PM

Column Awards of the Week (11/3-11/9)

By updating RealClearSports I read hundreds of articles every week but sometimes there are particularly passages that need highlighting. And to make these passages more palatable I'm doing them in award form! The awards are completely random and will change weekly (though some may become reoccurring).

Column Awards pic.jpgAt the beginning of the NFL season analysts are quick to anoint their team Super Bowl champs or they are ready to believe they'll be in the hunt for the top pick in the draft. It's stupid but I get it. They have one game to go on they have to write something so they jump to absurd conclusions. But now that we're midway through the season that should be done with. There is enough evidence to either hold a team on a pedestal (Giants), lambast them for their awful play (Cowboys), or understand that for the majority of teams the old adage 'any given Sunday' applies.

Even more data is available for coaches yet some columnists are still ready to flip weekly on their teams' coach. I'm not talking about Wade Phillips (was anyone ever on his side besides Jerry Jones?). Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe had high praise for Bill Belichick after the Patriots beat the Vikings and ex-Patriot Randy Moss was released: The Patriots are better without Moss. I certainly did not believe this when they dealt Moss to the Vikings four weeks ago. I thought it was a signal that they were giving up on the 2010 season. But as always, Belichick knows his team better than us. Bill could not be more right about this one. ... At this point, who's going to challenge anything Bill does? Not me. Never again.

I said last week there was no way he'd stick to this statement but I didn't think it would take less than a week for him to forget his promise. But here's Shaughnessy after the Patriots fell to the Browns 34-14: The Patriots looked ill-equipped and ill-prepared. They were outplayed in the city where Belichick always will have something to prove. And they were outcoached by Fredo Mangini, a man Belichick despises more than anyone else in football. 

Sounds to me like he's questioning Belichick's coaching. These things happen. Teams have bad games. Last year two teams were close to going undefeated and this year, halfway through, no team has less than 2 losses. Why hammer Belichick now? It's just such a dumb reactionary response. And you want to hear something even dumber? Shaugnessy also wrote: It's not often Belichick is beaten by a rookie quarterback (with a "Friday Night Lights'' name of Colt McCoy).

In case you don't watch Friday Night Lights (Netflix them right away - best drama on TV) there is a QB named JD McCoy. The thing is though, chances are the TV character (established a couple years ago) was named after Colt McCoy. How did he not put that together?

Weekly Heat Hyperbole

I'm pretty sure this will be a recurring category. And this one is pretty good. The Heat beat the Timberwolves 129-97 and Greg Cote of the Miami Herald believes that means the Heat won't have a problem with complacency this year: This was Miami, with every reason to coast or be flat, but flattening the opponent anyway. The Heat could have taken its cue from a late-arriving crowd and started out sleepily. Nope. Instead the rout was such that the Big 3 ended it lounging on the bench while the reserves finished up.

Get used to it. This was -- if there is such a thing -- routine dominance in a fourth consecutive win.

One win against the Wolves in the fifth game of the season and that means the Heat will never fall into a sense of complacency? The season is 82 games long and this was a HOME game! Of course they're not complacent yet. If they were complacent now they'd have some major problems later. Come back to me in about 3 months and write this same column if they don't fall to a sub-.400 team on the road in the month of January. Until then - this is absolute nonsense.

Out of Touch with Reality
Rick Reilly of ESPN seems to think his group of fantasy football is much different than those that work in an office: But the more I got to know these guys, the more I saw why they did it.
Most of us don't go to an office. Our Guy Time Meter hovers near zero sometimes. I love my wife, but she doesn't want to kick paper field goals or ask if I got my haircut at the Oakland airport. Guys show love by giving each other crap. It's just how we do it.

He's talking about his semi-celebrity league (Turtle from Entourage a former Bachelor among others). But does he really think that guys in the office don't do the exact same thing? In fact, they do MUCH more of it because they're sitting in a cubicle for 8-12 hours a day. At least an hour of that is spent on combing the waiver wire, talking trash, and working trades that set up great matchups during the playoffs. This column reads like someone who just discovered chocolate ice cream and just HAD to share it with the rest of us.

Specious Logic

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports doesn't think MLB should expand the playoffs: Since 2002, only two World Series have lasted even six games. Three went five games. Three ended in four-game sweeps. Perhaps it is all just cyclical; the Series went seven games three times between 1997 and 2002. Or perhaps teams become so physically and psychologically drained, they've got nothing left.

How in the world does this make any sense? Wouldn't both teams be drained? How does that account for the trend of shorter World Series'? I'm all for shortening the regular season, expanding the playoffs, and giving the best record in each league a decided advantage. Maybe they get a bye through the first round or maybe they get more home games. But clearly something has to be done to help baseball.

Guilty Before Proven Innocent

In the wake of recent allegations against Auburn's Cam Newton, Thayer Evans of Fox Sports urges voters not to vote for him for Heisman: Do not vote for Newton.... remember, just less than two months ago, disgraced New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush in an unprecedented move returned the Heisman Trophy that he won in 2005. ... Yes, they are allegations, but the kind that aren't worth risking the return of another Heisman Trophy.

So voters should punish Newton for what Bush did? I have no clue if Newton took money or not but you can't punish the guy for rumors. And based on recent surveys by agents, the majority of players are on the take. I guess if you really wanted to make a stand you wouldn't vote for anyone.

Crank of the Week

This is barely sports related but it was too good to pass up. Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press wrote an entire column on the evil that is Four Loko energy/alcoholic beverage: Remember, while many of us went through the sneak-a-beer phase, these energy drinks are a whole new game. The only beverage we drank for energy was cola or coffee -- and coffee tasted bitter, it was our parents' drink (this was long before Starbucks) -- and we only did it if we had a final exam.

How about No-Dos? How about coke - and I'm not talking about the beverage. There have been plenty of uppers that people have used before and more recently there's Red Bull and vodka and jager bombs. It just seems like there are more things to be concerned about that some ridiculous alcoholic beverage.

Jumping to Conclusions

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press thinks Matthew Stafford is injury-prone: There's no debating it now. The Lions have themselves a $72-million injury magnet. If you can't trust that Stafford will survive the most innocent-looking tackle, how can you possibly have confidence that he will hold up through the truly bone-crushing hits that quarterbacks must endure if they expect to last long term in the NFL.

I'm sick of people assuming certain players are injury-prone. With so many players and so many plays, there are bound to be a few that just have some bad luck. Go back and watch the play McNabb tore his ACL on. There's no contact and it looks like nothing at all. Sometimes these things happen and it doesn't mean a player is injury-prone.

Unfair Assessment

Woody Paige of the Denver Post is not a big Kyle Orton fan: At the midpoint of the 2010 season, and 24 games into his term as the Broncos' quarterback, Orton has proved he is a passer -- and a loser.

Paige throws out a lot of stats including third and fourth down conversions and red zone efficiency and then he tacks on these two sentences at the end:  He certainly isn't completely to blame for a season gone in the tank. McDaniels, the offensive line, the entire defense and multiple injuries share in the responsibility, but the quarterback is the Most Important Man.

Um, yeah. I'd say those are by far the biggest reasons the Broncos are 2-6. Look at the receivers Orton is working with. He has turned Brandon Lloyd into a star and Jabar Gaffney into a capable receiver. I'm not saying Orton is a top 5 QB but probably top 15 and it's really tough to judge him with this team. Maybe if they had any semblance of a running game he wouldn't have to be throwing the ball nearly 40 times a game and his third and fourth down conversion rate would be much higher. Having said all this, I'm hoping the Broncos turn to Tim Tebow because at least that will be entertaining.

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